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Small Business Loans in Arkansas (2021 Update)

Older entrepreneurs are gaining momentum around the country. The Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity reported that in 2012, nearly a quarter of new businesses were started by entrepreneurs older than 55. This was a significant increase from 1996 when only 14 percent of new businesses were started by older Americans.Small Business Loans in Arkansas

Many entrepreneurs in this age bracket have more disposable income, years of work experience and knowledge, and valuable networks of colleagues. Some are also able to invest part of their retirement savings to finance a dream business. All of these factors can contribute to the potential success of a new business.

After a 20-year career in the IT industry, Jim Butenschoen of Springdale, Ark. started the Career Academy of Hair Design. Butenschoen started his small business with six people and has grown the academy, which now has four locations and five times as many employees.

Many of these older entrepreneurs are successfully transforming a hobby or a passion into a fulfilling second career. For others who are longing to follow in their footsteps but do not have a large nest egg to invest, many sources of funding are possible.

Startup capital can be obtained by seeking investors or taking out loans backed by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Private banks may also provide financing, but entrepreneurs should be cautious about the level of debt incurred.

According to the Nerd Wallet site, two small businesses exist for every 100 people in the state of Arkansas. The average amount of a typical SBA guaranteed loan is about $412,000 with 16 of these loans given for every 100,000 people in the state.

Arkansas entrepreneurs can secure SBA loans through the district office in Little Rock or by contacting private lenders. Both national lenders such as the Lending Tree and National Funding and local branches of banks can provide more information.


Banks in Arkansas That Offer Small Business Loans

Here are the best banks for small businesses in Arkansas based on the latest data:

First State Bank of DeQueen

The First State Bank of DeQueen boasts itself for customer-centric financial products and banking experience.

Peoples Bank

First known as the Grant County Bank, it was officially formed in the 1980s but only came to be known as Peoples bank in 2000.

First National Bank of North Arkansas

The First National Bank of North Arkansas has been in business since 1889 but has managed to keep up with the times through innovation and forward thinking.

Simmons Bank

Having a total of $15.1 billion in assets, Simmons bank is one of the biggest financial institutions in the United States. It was founded in 1903 in Pine Bluff, Arkansas and was one of the first banks in the area to receive a federal charter.

The First National Bank of Lawrence County at Walnut Ridge

Dating back to 1919, The First National Bank at Walnut Ridge now has $194.3 million in assets and is rated by Bankrate to be in superior condition.

First National Bank of Eastern Arkansas

Opened in 1886 in Forrest City, the First National Bank of Eastern Arkansas is the largest independently-owned bank, having 14 locations in and out of the state.

Top Arkansas Cities and Their Lenders

Arkansas has several different cities that have the resources to help you start a business and get small business loans. Starting a business is all about finding the right niche – it’s important you understand the local market you’re entering before you make any location based decisions. In this section, we’ll take a look at the largest Arkansas cities and the different local business lenders they have on-hand.

Little Rock, Arkansas

Little Rock is the largest city in the state of Arkansas – it is well known for being the economic hub of the area. Little Rock has a diversified economy that helps provide services and industry for the surrounding regions. If you’re looking to start a business in Arkansas, Little Rock will be one of your best options. Below are lenders working within the area.

Bank of Little Rock

Bank of Little Rock is a small bank locally operating in Little Rock. It provides multiple forms of business loans to commercial customers – including business term loans, business lines of credit, and equipment loans.


Onebanc is another business lender in the Little Rock region that has local experience. Onebanc is focused on providing full-service lending solutions to their business customers. They have a local brick-and-mortar office in Little Rock.
Fort Smith, Arkansas

Fort Smith is the second largest city in the state of Arkansas. It’s well known for its local tourist attractions and historic sites. Like Little Rock, Fort Smith is a hot spot for small business owners looking to tap into the Arkansas market. Below are some of their most popular small business lenders.

Farmers Bank

Farmers Bank is a small business lender that has huge presence in the western part of Arkansas. If you’re looking for a local lender with business loan expertise, this is one of your best options.

First National Bank of Fort Smith

This is another local lender that has a large presence in the Fort Smith area. The bank was founded in the city. They’ve helped countless borrowers get the money they need for their small businesses.

Fayetteville, Arkansas

Fayetteville is the home of the University of Arkansas. There are plenty of small business owners in the area catering to the students in the area. If you’re looking for a lender in the city, our top tips are below.

Priority Bank

Priority Bank is an Arkansas-based bank that has an office in Fayetteville. They’re well known in the area for helping local businesses.

Arkansas Capital

Arkansas Capital partners with local banks to provide small business loans to Fayetteville business owners. They’re a good starting point for individuals who want loans in the area.

Springdale, Arkansas

Springdale is the fourth largest city in the great state of Arkansas. The area is well-known for its food processing and manufacturing industries. If you’re thinking of starting a small business in the area, the lenders below can help you get the capital you need.

United Bank

United Bank is a small lender in the Springdale region that partners with consumers and small business owners to provide financing solution. They have several different types of small business loans available. Including lines of credit.

Signature Bank of Arkansas

Signature Bank of Arkansas is also a small lender with a local brick-and-mortar office in Arkansas. They specialize in small to mid-sized business loans.

Jonesboro, Arkansas

Jonesboro is home Arkansas State University. Like Fayetteville, the local economy is based around the college in the area. If you open a business in the area, the lenders below are your best options.

Focus Bank

Focus Bank is your best option in Jonesboro. They have offices throughout Arkansas, but one of their biggest client bases is in Jonesboro. They can help you with a range of commercial banking needs.

Conway, Arkansas

Conway, Arkansas is located just a few miles Northwest of Little Rock. While the area benefits from its proximity to the state capital, it has an economy of its own. If you open a business in the area, it’s good to know which lenders to work with.

Arkansas Federal Credit Union

The Arkansas Federal Credit Union is the region’s best known small business lender. They’re the only major lender with a local presence in the city center.

Rogers, Arkansas

Rogers is a small city in the state of Arkansas with just over 50,000 residents. The town’s economy is mainly fueled by its small business presence. Check out the top lender in the area below.

United Bank

Like Springdale, United Bank is the only major lender in the Rogers, Arkansas area. They specialize in a range of commercial loans, including commercial real estate loans.

Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Pine Bluff, Arkansas is located just south of Little Rock. The city benefits from its close neighbor, but is far enough away to have a separate economy. Below is the region’s most popular lender.

Relyance Bank

Relyance Bank is the only major lender with a local office in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. They’re well known for helping area business owners help finance their companies.

Bentonville, Arkansas

Bentonville is well known for being the home of Walmart – it’s where the company first began decades ago. Their entrepreneurial spirit has been handed down to residents as small business owners have managed to thrive in the area.

Signature Bank

Like some of the cities previously mentioned in this article, Signature Bank is the most popular lender in Bentonville. The lender has extensive experience helping local business owners obtain proper funding.


Remember, some of these companies or banks are very specialized and may only handle SBA loans or a business line of credit. Ask them about any special programs for minorities or women. Also ask for information about business grants for startups if that interest you. If you bad credit don't worry as there still may be other alternative lenders willing to work with you.